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Supreme Court gives Centre last chance to frame policy on community kitchens

Supreme Court gives Centre last chance to frame policy on community kitchens
The Supreme Court has granted the central government a last chance to frame a pan-India policy on community kitchens.

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Supreme Court gives Centre last chance to frame policy on community kitchens

The Supreme Court has granted the central government three weeks as a last chance to frame a pan-India policy on community kitchens. The top Court is emphasizing that a welfare state has a constitutional duty to ensure that no one dies of hunger.




The bench, led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana found that the affidavit, which was filed by the under-secretary of the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Administration, merely recorded the information already given by the respective states. The Court had passed an order on October 27 directing the central government to come up with a scheme for establishing pan-India community kitchens, after interacting with the state governments.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Madhavi Divan informed the bench that a virtual meeting was held by the Centre with the States to obtain their views on the community kitchen schemes. Divan said information for the same has been provided in the affidavit.

“This doesn’t indicate anywhere that you are considering forming a scheme. That isn’t there. You are extracting information, what fund you are collecting and what you are doing etc!” the CJI told the ASG. “We wanted a uniform model from the Government of India. You have to ask states, see there’s a proposal, a discussion for common community kitchen issue, give your suggestions. Not to collect information like police, what you’re doing, how much you’re collecting.”

The CJI pointed out that the information is already available. “It is already filed in the affidavits of state.” He also expressed disappointment that the affidavit was filed by the under-secretary. “This is the last warning I’m going to give to the Government of India. Your Under Secretary files affidavit! Your responsible officer can’t file this affidavit? How many times we’ve said the responsible officer is supposed to file the affidavit? How many times has Supreme Court said that responsible secretary has to file the affidavit? You’ve to respect institutions. We say something you write something. This can’t go on.”


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The Attorney General for India KK Vennugopal assured the Court that the Centre will come out with a concrete scheme. He said something can be worked out within the framework of the National Food Security Act.

The CJI agreed and said that the issue now is to make a comprehensive scheme, identify areas where there’s immediate need so it can be uniformly implemented. “See if you want to take care of hunger, no constitution, no law will say no. My suggestion again is, already we’re delaying so further adjournments won’t help. We’ll give you final time of two weeks, please hold that meeting.”

Clarifying that the Court was not talking about malnutrition, the CJI highlighted that this is for hunger. “People are dying due to hunger. Don’t mix these two issues.”


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